Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

CUPE's Diabolical Scheme

Whew, if true then at least I have a bit more respect for certain Ontario and national Union leaders. However, I do not share that respect with local ones who seem so out of the loop.

I cannot confirm that what you are about to read is 100% true. Or even 1%. I must admit that it made good sense when I first heard about it.

All that I can do now is lay out the facts and let you draw your own conclusions, dear reader.

Take a look at this press release and see what I mean. Note that Sid Ryan is no longer with CUPE but the head of the Ontario Federation of Labour. Clearly though what happened in Windsor and Toronto has impacted him and other Union leaders:
  • "Unified Labour Movement to Dwight Duncan: Ontario Needs a Jobs Budget

    (TORONTO) -- In a meeting today between Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and the leaders of Ontario’s fifteen largest private and public sector unions, representing over one million workers, the Ontario labour movement delivered a clear and unified message on behalf of Ontario’s working families: Ontario needs a “jobs budget”.

    The pre-budget consultation meeting, which was spearheaded by Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan, was an important opportunity for leaders of both private and public sector unions to articulate their key priorities for the upcoming provincial budget:

    1) support for private sector labour markets by facilitating the creation of good, green jobs;
    2) maintenance of the important public sector jobs and services which have provided a bulwark against the recession...
    5) providing support for precariously employed workers in their struggle to secure good jobs.

    Ryan characterized the meeting as a very productive consultation which provided both labour and government the opportunity for a frank exchange of ideas and concerns around the upcoming budget.

    “We are confident that Minister Duncan heard our call for a jobs budget loud and clear. Both public sector and private sector unions were absolutely clear that if jobs created in the private sector are accompanied by public sector job cuts, the net gain for working Ontarians is zero. We will not be pitted against one another.” says Ryan."

Outsourcing in other words won't cut it with Labour!

However, Union leaders are not dumb. They understand that their Government members are under attack. We have seen it in Toronto as well as in Ottawa:

  • "Economy 'fragile,' government must live within means, Day says after union talks

    Treasury Board President Stockwell Day says the federal government has to "live within its means," and the public service has to be part of the plan to eliminate the deficit.

    Speaking after pre-budget meetings with two of the federal government's largest unions, Day would not rule out pension or wage cuts - moves the unions have lobbied hard to prevent.

    But he promised to work with labour to "maintain the integrity" of public-service pension plans."

They know that their jobs, wages and salaries are being targetted by failed politicians just as they were in the private marketplace by failed business leaders.

Notwithstanding all of the so-call praise heaped on the CAW for their realism, the CAW had to be practical in a different way when their employers were facing bankruptcy.

The Union leaders know that the situations involving different parts of the labour movement have to be treated differently while the sycophants try to crush Government workers by using private union examples.

Clearly, fighting the Government for as long as possible was one of the methods used by CUPE in their fight to protect union members and their jobs. To deliver a message to the politicians. Unfortunately, Windsor workers had to bear the brunt of it with their 101 day strike. But you know "Solidarity forever" as long as it impacts Windsor workers only.

And Windsor workers did get a huge wage increase forever although few in Windsor know that thanks to the Messenger's non-reporting. Moreover, CUPE Toronto was able to get comparable gains in Toronto thanks to our near-riot due to the foolishness of Edgar (aka Eddie).

It was a pretty tough message the Labour Movement delivered.

Clearly though, CUPE and the OFL leadership understood that there might be job cuts and Windsor is again leading the way. While Edgar believes that he is the pacesetter for Governments across the Province with outsourcing, He is nothing more than the tool whom the OFL will use to beat the Governments.

Follow along.

Outsourcing will prove to be a failure. All it will achieve is making people opposed to the ruling party or individual Council members come out to vote AGAINST them in the next election and in the end demonstrating to the public that little was achieved after so much public hardship.

How can I say this? How can the Unions possibly stop outsourcing? It is impossible you may think.

Hardly. The tactic that will be adopted is the following:


What is the point of outsourcing if the end result accomplishes nothing. If wages are just about as high and if members of the public can be hurt by work stoppages, what will have been gained?

The answer is nothing.

Think I am fooling. Here is a prime example of what I mean and you will see exactly what will happen here in Windsor if a variety of jobs will be outsourced. From the CUPE Canada website:
  • "Strike looms at Ottawa garbage collection
    Mar 18, 2010

    OTTAWA, Ont. – BFI Canada Inc. workers, members of Local 1338-02 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are ready to go on strike if the company doesn’t show more openness to their contract demands. The workers are responsible for recycling and waste collection in the west end of Ottawa.

    The forty workers, who collect residential and commercial garbage and recycling for approximately 25 per cent of Ottawa, have voted over 90 per cent in favour of strike action if a fair collective agreement is not reached with the employer. The strike vote took place Wednesday evening.

    The union has been frustrated with the employer’s refusal to bargain fairly. The bargaining has stumbled on wages, hours of work and overtime, and has come to a complete halt over benefits such as healthcare insurance, long term disability, etc.

    Garbage collection is as one of the most hazardous jobs. BFI workers handle an average of 15 tons of garbage per day, roughly 600-900 bags per man every day. Injury rates average 35 per cent every year. The union is seeking the same kind of agreement that other workers in this industry have in Ottawa.

    “Our members are determined to be treated fairly and are united. Our goal is to get a fair contract similar to what other workers in the industry have already received,” said Daniel Sauvé, president of CUPE 1338-02."

CUPE organized garbage workers and now are demanding comparable wages and benefits. So what was the purpose of bringing in a private party supposedly to save all of that money for taxpayers when the unionized workers can still go out on strike to get City-type wages.

Edgar and Ms. Nazzani should think about this for their airport schemes too:

  • "Hamilton Airport workers seek fair contract to avoid holiday travel disruptions

    As the heavy holiday air travel period looms at the John C. Munro International Airport, 35 Hamilton airport workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are trying to secure a fair deal from airport management before the Christmas season to avoid holiday travel disruptions for passengers and cargo flying in and out of the Hamilton airport hub.

    “Our members are dedicated workers who provide emergency, safety, security and maintenance services at the airport,” said Derron Vernon, president of CUPE 5167. “The last thing we want is to disrupt travellers’ holiday plans during the Christmas season – all we want is a fair deal so we can continue to provide seamless service for Hamilton airport passengers...

    Outstanding issues include wages and benefits, scheduling improvements, regular and increased staff training and other issues. The workers’ last contract expired on October 1, 2008.

    “We know how important the holiday travel season is for everyone and that’s why we are hoping that management also recognizes this fact, and are willing to hammer out a deal prior to Christmas,” said Vernon. “After all, the holidays are about spending time with friends and families and passengers should not be worrying about whether they will be able to get home on time.”

Would this be a warning to those companies who decide to bid on Windsor work? Come into Windsor and your entire workforce everywhere will become CUPE members.

And a warning to Edgar and the hardliners but more importantly to other politicians? Outsource and you will have even worse labour relations than before because now a private party has its interests to protect and not those of you or taxpayers. You lose control of labour relations and get all the blame if there is a work stoppage and none of the glory.

The OFL message being delivered to Government is for politicians to think again. It's a shame that Windsor workers have to suffer the consequences and not someone else, again, but you know the reasons for that don't you.

Not a bad strategy, even if only 1% of it is true!